Northam Parole Board Releases Another Convicted Murderer, County Prosecutor Requests IG Investigation

Northam Parole Board Releases Another Convicted Murderer, County Prosecutor Requests IG Investigation

A Grayson County man convicted of first-degree murder is slated to be released after only serving 26 of his 200-year prison sentence after being granted parole by Gov. Northam’s State Parole Board.

August 12, 2020

A Grayson County man convicted of first-degree murder is slated to be released after only serving 26 of his 200-year prison sentence after being granted parole by Gov. Northam’s State Parole Board. In January 1994, Robert Dwayne Godfrey pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 68-year-old Albert Haywood Hamilton Sr. Godfrey, who was facing capital murder charges, entered into a plea deal in order to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to serve two 99-year prison terms. Godfrey later escaped from jail while awaiting his transfer to prison to serve out his sentence and was later found 36 hours later hiding under a bed in a Cana, Va. trailer park by Carroll County deputies.

Godfrey’s release comes shortly after the Northam administration’s controversial release of convicted cop-killer Vincent Martin which drew the ire from Virginia legislators and prosecutors which led to The Virginia Office of Inspector General investigating the parole board’s actions. The report revealed that the Northam Administration deliberately tried to keep victims, their families and law enforcement from learning of upcoming parole decisions, simply because they might object to the Board’s decision.

Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Boyles says his office was only notified via fax by the Virginia Parole Board after they made their decision to release Godfrey and was never given an opportunity to address the Board prior to their determination.

I am beyond frustrated with the Virginia State Parole Board. I have been in contact with the Office of Inspector General and they have indicated to me that they will open an investigation into this case. One of Godfrey’s co-defendants was only convicted of robbery and accessory after the fact, and was sentenced to 60 years. He’s still in prison and we have no indication that he’s getting parole. How does this make any sense? —Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Boyles

Virginia State Senator David Suetterlein of Roanoke recently filed legislation that provides greater transparency to the Virginia State Parole Board’s decisions.

My bill would make the votes public, and it’s an effort to bring more sunshine” into the process. We’re taking the [position] that better decisions are made, and less questionable actions are taken, when there is greater disclosure. I think the parole board would welcome it if they are proud of the decisions they’re making. There should be no problem with their decisions being made public. –Sen. David Suetterlein

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